please help with the biting...

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by ryleighgirl, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. ryleighgirl New Member

    I need some help. Ryleigh likes to bite when she plays, and sometimes she does it randomly. She is now six months old. When she was really little she use to resource guard, but she has stopped that with the help of obedience classes. It seems like I've tried everything. Right now we're leaving the room whenever she bites. It was working for awhile, but now when we come back into the room she runs from where ever she is and bites us again. My mom gets the worst of it. She will also bite randomly like when we're putting on our shoes, talking to some one, or just sitting down. It isn't aggressive because she is wagging her tail, running in circles, and acting all excited. Stuffing a toy in her mouth doesn't work because she wants nothing to do with it when she gets like this. She just spits it out and then comes after our arms or legs. Does anyone have any ideas on how to stop this?

  2. ryleighgirl New Member

    Thank you. I didn't think to look in the puppy section for help.
  3. krazykai0905 Well-Known Member

    Kai does the same thing, and it's because Ryleigh is teething. I know, it lasts a LONG time. What would help is taking her on super long walks(longer than what she's doing now), and packing a soaked sock into a dry sock(With knots in the end like a rawhide bone would have), and freeze it over night, then give it to her when she starts to bite. It's helped Kai extremely, and she actually started to slow down on her obnoxious biting.

    ~~*Harper & Kai*~~
  4. ryleighgirl New Member

    She has all of her adult teeth could she still be chewing because of teething? We go on hikes for 1-2 hours in the woods as often as I can. It is hunting season so we can't do that for awhile. She pulls to the point of choking herself if we walk anywhere other than the woods. An entirely different problem that we are working on. Anyway the walks do help but she takes a 15 min nap and then shes back to playing and biting. She's like an energizer bunny.

    What we were doing was helping, but now I guess she's testing us. She waits outside the door for us to come back and then start biting again. So we go back behind the door. We do this maybe five times sometimes more until she gives up. Does this mean it's still working and eventually she will give up completely and the biting will stop? Or should we try one of the other things suggested?

    What she needs is another dog to tire her out, but my parents got very mad when I suggested it :dogrolleyes:. She didn't bite for the entire day whenever she had my aunt's dog to play with. There are no dog parks within an hours drive of me either...
  5. krazykai0905 Well-Known Member

    I thought Kai had all her adult teeth a while ago, but it turns out that she just keeps growing more! She'll probably teethe up until 8 months, depending on how fast she matures. Though judging that her ears are up(teething sometimes effects the ears pointie-ness), she might end soon. Never the less, keep doing what you're doing(She will get it and give up), but try some other stuff too. I tried new things until I found something that worked. Do any of your friends have dogs? If they do, let her play with them! My BF has a beautiful malamute dog, he's like a wolf(LOVE!), and he can run faster than Kai and is so careful, and when ever Kai plays with him, she's burnt out like a light. Do you have any weave poles/tunnels/teeter totters/a-frames? Those can tire a pup out when there's nothing to do. :)

    ~~*Harper & Kai*~~
  6. snooks Experienced Member

    Even when they have all of their adult teeth dogs jaws and facial bones continue to grow and change for 2 years. This means that chewing feels good AND that somehow you are rewarding your dog for biting. Dogs don't do things that don't bring about some desired result. This sounds like attention seeking and my puppy is still bad about it now and then. She will bark and jump when being ignored to get a reaction even if it's eye contact and a eh-eh. If you look you lose your point.

    It could also be an extinction burst. This is behavior the dog just drives you nuts with that USED to work and now you ignore or leave. As a result the dog intensifies the behavior in hopes of producing that behavior he liked. It gets worse before it gets better. The key is the more disciplined and consistent you are the faster it stops. Every time you give up and turn to the dog and give full attention, if only to correct, you paid off like a slot machine. So it may take 20+ more times of you being consistent to get back to where you started.

    If your mom gets the worst of it then her reactions need to be examined and you will find the cause. Does she jump or jerk or push the puppy away? Is she being an attractive prey item by running or jerking away, which the puppy might interpret as taunting or inviting to play? Watch the interaction and see if you can get her to cross her arms, turn her back, and ignore without moving until puppy quits this behavior. It's much easier to stop now than later.

    I realized I was getting frustrated and finally looking at my puppy and telling her to settle. This was the attention she wanted. Whenever I spoke she would bark over me like my own private Orbitz commercial. I started just talking through it with the proviso that I would repeat it when she quit and we could both hear again. I had to just gut through it and am still working on it. Kimber just turned two and is a very people oriented dog, she doesn't try this nonsense with me b/c she knows it gets her nowhere. She will test everyone else though until she determines they don't pay for unacceptable behavior either. She's still very much a puppy, most Goldens and some big breeds are until 3 or older.

    Another thing to remember that's even harder is to reward the behavior you do want. So when puppy is lying down or chewing a toy and quiet be sure and reward and praise puppy then when it's easiest to ignore them. If you only pay attention when you're correcting then puppy will tend to do those things that get the most interaction.

    If you want to tell us exactly what your mom does that is getting such a response I bet there will be a lot we can suggest. I have a few people that come to my house to help me regularly and some always get jumped on ---some never do. There is a clear correlation with those who can reward desired behavior and IGNORE undesired. I used to go shut myself in the bathroom for a few seconds when Kimber when puppy crazy on me. That shut the crazies down very fast.

    Just be aware in your movements that when you turn away you are slow and calm not jerky and flinchy. If you are calm the dog will be calmer.

    Best of luck with this very NORMAL part of puppyhood. I know it's trying. :dogwink:
  7. ryleighgirl New Member

    It is hard to describe what my mom does when Ryleigh bites because she doesn't bite that much when me or my dad are around. She's a perfect little angel when my dad is home, and me she only bites when she gets too worked up with playing. If you break the biting into two categories (attention seeking and playing) it is working really well for the playing. The biting is mostly when my mom yells at my sister, takes off Ryleigh's leash, or when my mom is sitting down. Also, which I don't understand, my sister gets her excited then she turns to my mom and bites her. The times that I have seen Ryleigh bite my mom she does get all tense and push her away. In her defense it is hard not to get tense when you are getting bitten. She breaks the skin a lot or leaves really big welts.

    The attention seeking thing makes sense. We'll try not looking at her or saying anything to her and slowly walking away. Only I'm not sure how to get away from her without pushing her away. She's strong enough to hold you in place by your arm or leg. If you just turn around and cross your arms she will rip your clothes off and leave bleeding gashes in any exposed skin... She has layed down and fallen asleep while I waited for her to let go of something before like a blanket or leash. I held one end not moving while she held the other end and fell asleep. She doesn't give up.

    I do praise her whenever I see her laying down or chewing a toy. She gets up and takes her toy to the other side of the room like I bothered her.
  8. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Great advice, as usual, Tx and Snooks!
  9. ryleighgirl New Member

    I might be wrong but I didn't think extinction burst lasted this long...:dogsad: I'm worried it is aggression, and not just puppy biting like everyone keeps telling us. I watched more carefully how my mom and ryleigh interact. There were three main times that she bites. Whenever she is taken outside on a leash and then when my mom trys to come back inside with her she gets jumped on and bitten. When my mom trys to distract her when she is chewing on the couch (a new thing she started when we go behind the door when she starts biting). Also again only with my mom, when they are playing fetch ryleigh will stop mid chase turn around run full speed at my mom and jump on her and bite her. I'm really worried because my parents are going to make me get rid of ryleigh if I don't stop the biting by the end of my winter break... or at least make huge progress.:msncry: I know it is hard to tell without seeing it, but does that sound like aggression or is it still attention seeking?
  10. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    That's the problem with just going behind the door rather than giving her a toy or treat: she still needs to chew, and if she can't chew you, then she'll find something else.
    I highly doubt it's aggression. If anything, she could be biting your mother out of dominance. If your mother is not an assertive person, and Ryleigh is a dominant dog, then she knows your mother is easy to dominate. If your mother only enforces the method every third time she bites, then she knows she can get away with it every third time. Absolute consistency is a MUST. Everyone in the family has to use the same method every single time she bites, even if it's just a nibble. If you're playing and getting her riled up and she bites, you have to enforce the method immediately. There are no excuses, no exceptions, EVERY time she bites you have to use the method, period.

    Here's an extreme example of a dominant mouther:
    A trainer friend of mine recently worked with a 7-month-old Shar-Pei/Pit mix. Her owner got her at 3 weeks old--the mother had died, so she was a bottle baby. And as many bottle babies do in inexperienced hands, she turned into a very dominant dog. She took dominance to the extreme, and soon developed into a very aggressive dog. She and her owner could be sitting quietly when all of a sudden she'd get a hard stare in her eye and she'd latch onto her owner's arm. She didn't try to rip her arm off, she'd just hold her arm in her jaws and stare her in the eyes. Whoever dared to intervene was open to an attack. This dog was scary because she had NO warning signs at all. She always looked ready to lunge, so you never knew when she was really going to come at you. This dog thought she ruled the world, and since her extreme dominance had gone uncontrolled, she'd turned into an aggressive monster.
    That's an extreme case of a dominant dog gone wrong.

    When Ryleigh bites your mom, is her tail still wagging? Is she still playful/excited? Pay attention to her body language when she bites your mom. But like I said, I really doubt it's aggression. It's most likely a matter of everyone as a whole being more consistent. How often does Ryleigh get walked? I know you said she gets walked for 1-2 hours when you can, but how often is that? A romp in the backyard isn't enough for any dog, but especially not a Shepherd. If she could walked by someone at the very least 5 days a week, that's a start.

    As for her pulling, you might consider a Gentle Leader. GLs are a head collar. They are made like a horse halter--you have control of the dog's head. They are not a muzzle---you will get that reaction more than once. I am a huge fan of GLs. I've trained more dogs than I can count, but one of mine could not be leash trained with any humane method known to man. I tried everything I knew to try, with NO success. At 3 years old I still couldn't get any method to work for him. A trainer friend of mine recommended the GL, which I'd never used, and he's been using it for about 6-7 months now and he's PERFECT. I'm starting to wean him off of it now and he's still doing great. If you do decide to go with a GL, you will probably also see the cheaper Halti--don't go for it. It is a good tool as well and can produce the same success as a GL, BUT, if you've never used a headcollar, the Halti can be a problem. The GL has a clip under the chin, whereas the Halti does not. The Halti is extremely easy to get out of, and then you've got a loose dog. The GL also comes with an instructional DVD and an instruction manual. You MUST use these. Also:
    This website is a godsend. Go to "Using Gentle Leader for Pulling on Leash," "Fitting the Gentle Leader," and "Loose Leash Walking Tips and Tricks."

    Hope this helps. :)
  11. fickla Experienced Member

    Without seeing it I can't really say. But I would guess that this is attention seeking behavior, in a very demanding, innappropriate way.

    Chances are this is not an extinction burst, but that your dog is on a variable reinforcment schedule which is extremely hard to extinguish. I would think it's very likely that your mom is not 100% consistent in her reaction to the bite. Even if she goes out the door 9/10 times, there is still a chance for Ryleigh to have fun that 1 time. OR even if your mom goes out the door 10/10 times, if she reacts in any way this could be reinforcing the behavior. Some dogs get a kick out of watching a person shriek, pull away, etc. I don't think it means that they are evil, but negative attention is still attention!

    I would highly consider teaching a really good incompatible behavior such as go to mat. She can't bite if she's lying down on a mat 10ft away! A really good sit or down could work too of course. The main problem with teaching an incompatible behavior is that many dogs learn it as a chain. First they jump up/bite, then the person cues mat/sit. The dog learns to get attention they first jump up and then pop into a very lovely sit once the person notices them. This is obviously very backwards. So taking the easier example of jumping up on people, you would have to cue a sit before the dog even thinks about jumping up. Reward immediately with petting or a treat maybe too. Then I would have the owner take their hands away for 1 second and immediatley go back to petting the dog. Then 2 secs of taking hands away, petting again. The reason I would have this little pause is to teach the dog that by remaining in a sit they earn the right to be petted. if they jump up in the pause time, the owner goes back to turning their back/leaving the room. it's to try to teach the dogs not to jump up first before sitting. since you can predict when ryleigh is going to bite, you can do the same thing with maybe the mat.

    I also really like teaching dogs like this a cool down/rev up game. if she plays tug, get her to tug for a very small amount of time and then stop, ask for a drop it, don't say anything else but wait until she sits or lies down. you are looking for her to calm down and ask nicely to play again, as soon as she is calm you want to immediately start the game up again. play for a little bit longer and then repeat. as she understands that she can make you play by being calm, you start to play for longer periods of time and get the dog more and more reved up before asking for the drop and calmness. eventually your dog can go from a crazed 10 to a calm 3 in a manner of seconds. great impulse control!
  12. krazykai0905 Well-Known Member

    Bring Ryleigh on suuuuper long walks. An hour at a time at least. Kai has gotten real bite-y lately, and I've simply ignored her. She barks and gives a few tugs on my arms, shirt and hair, but after that she gives up and just barks. Once she's quiet, even if it's for two seconds, I make toys and praise rain from the sky. Also, when she bites, (I don't know if this is right or not, but it works for her) I take her mouth off, show her a toy, and when she takes it, I praise like crazy. Get Ryleigh's attention when ever she does warning signs that she's about to bite, like jaw sparring(waving her teeth around. It's a wolf way to show dominance or invite play), barking, or even play bows; and direct her mouthy-ness to something yummy like a frozen sock toy or even a rawhide. Also, does she bite you? If she doesn't bite you as much as your mom, increase the time she spends with your mom,(Supervise it if you want, so you can correct her for biting) and praise her for when ever she isn't mouthing; but when she does, say "oh, you lose" and stop petting her. When she jumps up, don't move a muscle. It will get worse before it gets better. When she stops biting and/or jumping, praise and pets, maybe even toys.

    I think most of the biting(like the fetch stuff) is arousal. When I'm running with Kai, she waits for me and stays at my heel, but she jumps and bites my arms to say, "C'mon! Hurry up!". So, I think Ryleigh's biting your mom when she's playing fetch, she's asking her to come with her, or ignoring the ball and asking to play with you're mom instead. I hope Ryleigh gets out of the bite thing. It's so heartbreaking to see dogs turn up at my shelter because they have issues like play biting...

    ~~*Harper & Kai*~~
  13. ryleighgirl New Member

    Thank you so much for all your help. I feel a little better about the whole aggression thing. It sounds like I need tips on clicker training my mom... Good news though she did stop going after the couch. We used the bitter apple spray (>.< I know it is probably not the best thing to do.) I tasted it by accident and it is very gross but it didn't burn or anything. She stopped after tasting it twice then rubbing her body on it for awhile. Luring her away from the couch was also the only one she would growl at before she bit. The other two she would not give any noticable signal, it was just the situation that triggered it. She does not get tense, wag her tail, get excited, or give a look. She would just turn around and bite, but only with my mom. I'm guessing because it is only with my mom it is a dominance thing not aggression. The other day I did stuff with her all day from the moment i woke up until I put her in her kennel at night. I had managed to tire her out, at least I thought I did. It was really late at night and she was lying on the rug and my mom walks by. Ryleigh gets up bites my mom until I get her to stop then she crashes and is out for the night.

    tx_cowgirl- I am guilty of not giving her enough exercise since school started. She gets a lot of exercise 2-3 days out of the week with me when I come home for the weekend. My mom and dad were suppose to walk her while I wasn't home (she started off as the "family dog", but once she started biting she became "my dog"). Over the summer she went for really long walks or played soccer for hours with me everyday. Plus we have a four acre back yard. (Which next summer will have a full agility course in it I can't wait) Only it is really hard to tire her out, and she would still bite. Even at 8-9 weeks she rarely slept. We did borrow a gentle leader from our neighbors who had to get rid of their dog. It was great for the pulling but it rubbed her nose raw. I am deffinately going to read the information on the website, and try it again.

    fickla- It does seem like she enjoys the "ow". We'll work on not saying anything at all. I guess we sound too much like a squeaky toy. She does know a settle command which is go to her bed. She gets hyper focused on your arm or leg when she starts biting, and nothing will distract her. Maybe I'll try carrying pieces of food roll around with me. I'm just worried she will learn if I bite I get food. I guess thats what the pause is for. I did something like the rev up calm down game. That's what the trainer I went to suggested. When I stopped playing while I still held onto the toy and asked for her to drop it she would fall asleep holding onto the toy. Her eyes would be closed and she would be lying on her side and I still would not be able to get it out of her mouth. I held onto it for 20 mins while she slept... I had never seen a dog do that before.

    Krazykai- I'm going to try and figure out how to fit more walks. She usually doesn't give those kinds of warning signs. I agree I do think it is some kind of an arousal thing. With me she bites when I try to stop playing with her or if I get her too excited. She starts jumping, but as soon as she jumps she starts biting. I would have thought to have her spend more time with my mom too, but my mom spends way more time with her than anyone else. And my dad who she absolutely adores and has never bitten, ignores her almost all the time. Sometimes she will even wait by a door on her back for a belly rub if her goes into another room. When hes home and ryleigh bites someone, all he says is "Ryleigh stop" and she is on her back wagging her tail waiting for a belly rub. I don't get it at all. He never trained her, rarely gives her attention, only once in awhile will play with her outside. Second he isn't in the room she is back to biting.

    Thanks so much everyone. I really appreciate all your advice. I have a lot of things to try.
  14. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    No, bitter apple spray is great. Completely safe and a good extra precaution. :)

    As for the GL, it was probably fitted too tight or not used properly(no offense). I completely understand not having enough time to exercise her. If you don't have time to walk her but have time to train with her, check out some of the challenges. Just training will tire her out too. If you have time, do several mini-sessions a day and try to work on things that really make her thing. You could even do little sessions during every commercial break if you're watching TV or something. If you train enough, you can tire her out sometimes better than a walk--not that training should replace exercise. But you can use it when you really just don't have time or feel like walking. Great for tiring them out on a rainy day. :)
  15. ryleighgirl New Member

    Thats so good to hear about the bitter apple spray! In that case I highly recommend it. It saved our couch. Too bad she didn't care when I put it on my arms. We clicker train all the time. We both love it. She stares at the clicker when I put it down and she doesn't want to stop. She gets so excited/dramatic when I start putting a cue to a behavior. Almost lost a cupboard door when I taught her close it:msngiggle:. She would slam her paws into it so fast so she could get the treat. I finally got a new camera so I'll be posting videos probably next week:dogbiggrin:. No offense taken, they never showed us how to use the gentle leader.
  16. kossack New Member

    This is such great advice. Works with kids, too. ;)
  17. ryleighgirl New Member

    I have no idea what we did, but since my last post she has been amazing. It was probably a mix of all the little changes we made with everyone's suggestions, and trying really hard not to yell at each other. The trying not to yell makes sense because my mom does twice as much as everyone else:msnrolleyes:. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. She still bites, but she is finally responding when we say stop or we walk away. Before it was really hard to get away from her when she started biting. Now she will let you walk away. She even chose not to bite! She had my mom's arm in her mouth and before she bit down she let go and got her toy! We did not even have to say anything. There was one incident when I came home on Friday. She was just way too excited to see me, and really hyped up to play with me. I couldn't get her to calm down. Other than that she is like a different dog. She is even more affectionate. Thanks so much for your help.
  18. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Great! Glad to hear she's doing so much better. Keep at it and soon the biting will be over.
    Must be a mom thing, lol! My mom has very little patience with dogs, and rather than calmly stop a behavior, she'd rather yell at them, then calm down, then fix it. o-0 She's gotten better though.
    Good luck, congrats, and keep up the good work.

Share This Page

Real Time Analytics